As part of our Agility Through Diversity series, we spoke with Marianne Calder, VP & MD for Puppet EMEA, about diversity in DevOps her career path and her thoughts on the future of the sector. We asked her about
- What first interested you in DevOps?
- Were there any barriers you experienced on your path to becoming VP EMEA of Puppet?
- How important is diversity in EMEA for adding business value?
- Do you have advice for other businesses about how to drive diversity within their organisations?
- What would you say you learned from judging the Future Stars of Tech awards?
- How can we attract more children from all backgrounds into STEM subjects?
What first interested you in DevOps?
When I first took the lead on collaboration at Cisco, the engineering team had experienced a slow couple of years. We had new leadership, with Rowan Trollope and Jonathan Rosenberg, and were adopting a DevOps and agile approach, with a focus on the improving services for users.Straight away, it was clear that the collaboration was transforming the way our engineers were innovating, and the speed at which they could come up with new ideas. What really struck me was the huge appetite from other CIOs who saw the work we were doing, and wanted to implement a similar strategy. Even though I was in the sales team, rather than being one of the engineers, I saw the effect the methodology had on innovation and the industry appetite for wider adoption of DevOps principles. It was this that first engaged me in the DevOps movement.
Marianne Calder, VP & MD for Puppet EMEA
Were there any barriers you experienced on your path to becoming VP EMEA of Puppet?
One challenge I’ve faced throughout my career, is finding a way to speak with a strong voice. I’m naturally soft-spoken and a bit shy by nature. I had to find a way to make this work in the business environment. It’s something I’ve been working on throughout my career, and continue to work on to this day – being comfortable speaking up.
How important is diversity in EMEA for adding business value?
Diversity is so important to any business. Particularly when we talk about diversity in DevOps and IT automation, where great talent is scarce, we need to ensure that as a business, we are tapping into all available talent pools. For Puppet in EMEA, we have doubled our team in the last year – that’s a huge amount of growth, and something we wouldn’t have been able to do if we weren’t able to access the broadest range of talent out there.
At the same time, we want to ensure that our workforce is diverse enough to represent all of the markets we work in – as we break into new markets, and drive new conversations with our customers, this is more important than ever. By building a team with diversity, equality and openness at its core mean collectively our team in EMEA alone is able to speak 11 different languages and has a good understanding of the technology market across a vast geographical landscape.
Do you have advice for other businesses about how to drive diversity within their organisations?
It’s critical that we view diversity as a leadership priority. Many organisations view it as an HR issue or something that employee resource groups can overcome – but this simply isn’t enough. A new approach to diversity needs to be driven from the top, and we need leaders to be vocal about driving this change.
What would you say you learned from judging the Future Stars of Tech awards?
It was an absolute honour to judge these awards, and it was humbling to be part of this process. I was greatly impressed with the courage, determination and variety of experiences these young women have. One thing that stood out to me was the breadth of experiences and the commitment and energy that came across in all the entries.
For me, these awards are critical for getting young women to share their stories – which is exactly what we need in the industry at the moment. Awards like the Future Stars of Tech are fantastic vehicles for the recognition of young talent, and driving awareness of a new generation of role models. I was really pleased, and privileged, to be working with Vitesse Media on bringing some of those Future Stars into the spotlight – and to open doors for nominees and winners alike – to new opportunities now and in the future.
How can we attract more children from all backgrounds into STEM subjects?
This was something I touched on in the video – tech is such an incredibly interesting industry. Tech leads and drives the competitive advantage for many other industries. Companies from all sectors are becoming more and more software led. The impact of technology across the board is huge, and we need to expose young girls to all the great roles that they can have in tech.
Tech has been seen with a very “geeky” stereotype, but today there is such a huge variety of roles available to young women. Especially with the rise in more agile, more DevOps-led approaches, we need a broader range of skills than ever before.
The drive to be able to code is key – however, in the modern technology industry, we need to also shine a spotlight on roles where key skills include collaboration, communication and teamwork.
This feature is sponsored by Puppet.